Expatica news

Guns, drones and salaries: the most-read articles of 2018

Swiss President Alain Berset is the star of swissinfo.ch’s most-read article of the past 12 months – not for any stirring speech, but for sitting on a kerb. 

Readers were delighted by the sight of down-to-earth Berset, who held the rotating Swiss presidency this year, taking a break during the UN General Assembly in New York. The image went viral. 

Another very popular article was an exclusive op-ed by a former US policewoman now living in Zurich on what Switzerland can teach the United States about guns. This was published after a teenager in Florida opened fire with an assault rifle at his former school, killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen. As always with gun articles, reader reaction was heated.

An extraordinary story, which also split our readers, was that of Indian-born Sheela Birnstiel. Also known as Ma Anand Sheela, the anti-hero of Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country has created a new life for herself in Switzerland as a carer for the mentally disabled, leaving behind her notoriety as the suspected mastermind behind a bioterror plot in the United States. “Prison was my highest qualification,” she told swissinfo.ch.

Drones have made headlines throughout the year – most recently at Gatwick Airport! Back in September, we visited “Drone Valley”between the Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne and Zurich, home to 80 start-ups in the field, to learn more about this high-flying area of Swiss innovation.

Are the Swiss cold and unwelcoming to foreigners? Yes, according to an annual expat survey which reckoned Switzerland was the 44th best country to live as an expat. Although it remains stable, beautiful and safe, Switzerland has plummeted from fourth place five years ago. While plenty of readers chipped in rubbishing the survey, others confirmed its findings.

If you’re one of those people who likes knowing what other people earn, ask for canton Zurich’s 768-page annual Lohnbuch (wage book) for Christmas. It provides local salaries for a range of professions: from taxi driver to diplomat. We picked out ten of them.